Cafe Philo: is the world becoming a better place?

November 7, 2023


Cafe Philo – Is The World Becoming a Better Place? |Discussion led by Don Cameron, Mike Snelling & Andreas Wasmuht. Tuesday 7th November 2023, Queen Square, Bath

BRLSI’s Café Philo has returned, designed to encourage lively group discussion on philosophical explorations of important contemporary issues. Is the world becoming a better place? From a philosophical perspective, what does the question even mean, and if it is getting better whom is it getting better for? With so many questions to answer, the philosophy café will take what others have thought as the basis for their discussion. Bertrand Russell suggests that most philosophers are broadly speaking optimistic. Steven Pinker finds that we’re doing better now when compared with 30 years ago. But progress isn’t inevitable, and it doesn’t mean everything gets better for everyone all the time. Instead, progress is problem-solving, and we should look at things like climate change and nuclear war as problems to be solved, not apocalypses in waiting. James Lovelock proposed the Gaia hypothesis, which postulates that the Earth functions as a self-regulating system. Matt Ridley in his book The Rational Optimist believes strongly that the world is becoming a better, and decries books, written by the likes of Noam Chomsky, Al Franken, John Gray et al who all, he says, argue that the world that the world is a terrible place and is getting worse. King Charles thinks the price of prosperity has been a progressive loss of harmony with the flow and rhythm of the natural world.

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